At first this was going to be a “look how biased the AP is” post, since the very first AFP report on the incident recognized that there was cross-border provocation…
… and the AP report, filed about 20 minutes later, very much did not:
But then I went back to the AFP article to screencap the timestamp – Yahoo’s RSS feed served up the original AFP article at 10:57pm PST and the orginal AP article at 11:18pm PST – but the post had already been changed to mesh it with the AP’s characterizations:
Now the very last line of the rewritten AFP post reminded readers that “army radio initially said the Israelis had returned fire after the Egyptian shot at them.” So if you were thinking “I wonder if there’s something going on here other than Israeli soldiers taking potshots at an Arab police officer, something that perhaps explains why the Egyptians aren’t screaming their heads off” – well, if you’re one of the less than 5% of readers who get to the end of an article you’d get a hint that there might be more. Which of course there is:
IDF troops shot and wounded an Egyptian border policeman overnight Sunday after the man cocked his weapon at them along the Israeli-Egyptian border. The incident occurred near Eilat when a routine patrol identified an armed figure moving near the border. When the troops challenged the man, he cocked his weapon, prompting the soldiers to open fire, the army said. The soldiers realized it was an Egyptian policeman only after the shooting, the military said.
Let’s say you’re an AP or AFP editor and that, since your early days as an idealistic undergraduate cub reporter speaking truth to power, you and most of the people in your political community have been inclined to blame Israel for Middle East violence. Fair enough. This story comes over the wire, you see the initial army radio report, then the correction, then the final Israeli version. And you unilaterally conclude that the confusion means the Israelis are flat out lying.
Don’t you still put in a line like “Israeli sources denied that the shooting was unprovoked but declined to give more information pending a joint Israeli-Egyptian investigation”? Just on the off-chance that the region’s most professional army wasn’t just randomly making shit up? It might be a small chance, but just to hedge your bets…?
Good few weeks for the AP though. Between this story and that description of “Jewish extremists” scuffling with “Muslim residents,” they’re really demonstrating why people are so attached to trustworthy and objective legacy media outlets.
* Firefight on Israeli-Egyptian border: army radio [AFP]
* Israeli soldiers shoot Egyptian policeman [AP]
* Israeli soldiers shoot at Egyptian policeman [AFP]
* Troops wound Egyptian border guard [JPost]
* AP Photo Labels Jews as Extremists, Muslims as Residents [CAMERA]
* AP: British Diplomat Who Screamed For Israel To Be Wiped Out Was “Criticizing Israel’s Conduct” (Plus: British Anti-Semitism Now Kind Of An Everyday Thing)
* AP Caption Of The Day: “Israel Will Not Heed Obama’s Powerful Appeal”
* AP: US Pressuring Jews Who Live In “Traditionally Arab East Jerusalem” [MR]